There are a wide variety of skills that may help you succeed in management. It often feels as if managers are expected to do it all. For example, helping morale and motivating a team means holding individuals accountable for poor performance. But managers are also expected to be empathetic. How does a manager balance those competing needs?
In this article, we will explore some of the skills managers may be expected to have so you can learn what prospective employers are looking for when hiring. We’ll also explore hard vs. soft skills and take a look at different manager categories (and the specific skills often attached to them) to give you a better idea of managerial careers that could be a good fit for your skillset.
The 5 Most In-Demand Management Skills
What are hiring managers looking for and how can you showcase these skills, based on your work experience? By understanding the most in-demand management skills, you can focus on highlighting these skills on your resume or during your next interview. Or, if these are skills you need to work on, you can identify strategies to help build your proficiency.
Here are the five most in-demand managerial key skills:
- Critical thinking. Critical thinking is the ability to take facts and evidence and form a sound judgment. Developing this skill will help in identifying problems and creating solutions in many of life’s arenas. In management, critical thinking is important for conflict resolution, budgeting, developing new ideas, and more.
- Strategic planning. The ability to plan strategically can help managers to create the goals and milestones that will help projects of any size succeed. Future planning also enables managers to anticipate problems and results, allowing processes to be streamlined and planning to look into the long term.
- Generating buy-in. Creating buy-in for goals allows your team to embrace the overall vision, without feeling that they are being steamrolled,. Building consensus, reaching agreements, and compromising on means without sacrificing the goal are all aspects of generating buy-in. This ability is one reason recruiters look for excellent interpersonal and communication skills when hiring for a manager position.
- Time management. Managing time—both your own and your team’s—is one of the most important skills for managers. Effective time management means being able to prioritize tasks, delegate work, and stay organized. It's also important to manage deadlines and keep projects on track.
- Change management. Change management is being able to identify and adapt to different obstacles and lead others through them. It requires commitment to the change and effort from the whole team. And because it’s often met with resistance, a large part of change management is generating buy-in.
While these are just a few of the essential skills for management success, potential employers are sure to look for them, so be sure to highlight them on your resume and in interviews. If you can master these skills, you'll be well on your way to a successful management career.
Types of management skills
A variety of skills are important for managers. For instance, communication skills are critical if you want to lead and motivate a team. Imagine a manager position for a remote team; communication is key, both in terms of verbal communication and being able to communicate through written media.
You’ll also want:
- To be organized,
- To have strong time management skills.
- Technical skills and familiarity with remote collaboration tools.
- The ability to build relationships with team members who are not physically present.
If you can master these skills, you'll be well on your way to managing a successful remote team.
When recruiters and hiring managers look at your job application, they look for more than just years of experience and your LinkedIn profile. They want to see that you have the relevant skills to lead this team.
Leverage your management experience to show you have the skills they want. If you don't have direct management experience, you can still highlight these skills through your work experience, volunteer efforts, or extracurricular activities.
Soft vs. hard skills
Soft skills are the personal and interpersonal traits that can help someone in business management. These include things like communication, negotiation, and problem-solving skills. On the other hand, hard skills are specific skills required for a particular job. A good manager will have a mix of both. Learn more about soft and hard skills here.
Here are some examples of soft skills:
- Motivating others. Being able to motivate and inspire are key skills for managers. You want to motivate your team and get them to buy into your vision.
- Team building. Teamwork makes the dream work. As a manager, part of your job is to build a strong team by selecting the right people and developing them into excellent team members.
- Leadership. The ability to lead is the most essential skill for any manager. A successful manager must be able to lead their team to success.
- Empathy. Empathy is one of the most important skills for any manager. This means understanding and relating to your team members.
- Conflict management. Conflict resolution is another key skill for managers. This means being able to resolve disputes and keep the peace.
- Planning. Another important managerial skill is the ability to plan. Planning includes setting goals and developing a strategy to achieve them.
Here are some hard skills you may find on a manager resume:
- Project management. Managing projects is the ability to see a task through from start to finish. Project management includes things like setting deadlines, delegating tasks, and keeping everyone on track.
- Data analysis. In today's data-driven world, it's important for managers to be able to analyze data and metrics. Data analysis means being able to understand and make decisions based on data.
- Budgeting. Budgeting is the ability to manage a budget or stay within a cost range. Managing a budget includes being able to forecast costs, track spending, and make adjustments as needed.
- Delegating. One of the most important management skills is delegation. Delegation is the ability to assign tasks to team members and trust them to get the job done.
- Relevant technical skills. Depending on the industry, certain management positions may require technical skills. For example, IT managers may need to have specific technical skills (e.g., Microsoft software knowledge). In contrast, social media managers must have the know-how to navigate social platforms and metrics.
Leadership vs. management skills
Leadership skills are different from management skills. Leaders inspire people to complete their tasks with passion and pride. Managers organize resources and tell people what to do to complete tasks. Let's discuss some of the key differences.
Managers are leaders but their focus is on providing direction and supervision, not necessarily motivation and inspiration. Managers are results-driven problem solvers. They weigh cost and risks. Other types of leaders may think outside the box and be future-focused but, managers must also stay within regulations and focus on the present.
In short, leadership skills are about inspiring people to achieve a common goal. Management skills are about organizing people and resources to achieve a goal. A great candidate for a management role has a healthy mix of both leadership and management skills. Understanding the differences in these skills can help shape your professional resume to be more attractive to potential employers.
Let’s say you’re looking for a management role and you have the work experience, know-how, and desire to land an amazing new position. However, you’re not sure how to write your cover letter or fill in your resume’s experience section to advertise your skills so they have the best impact.
Let’s look at some manager resume examples by exploring bullet points for the skills section of various manager positions. This can help you showcase the right skill sets on your resume.
- Management skills
- Work experience
- Time management
- Experience working with a team
- Leadership skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Proven sales track record
- Experience managing office operations
- Strong organizational skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Conflict resolution skills
- Experience developing marketing campaigns
- Strong analytical skills
- Creative thinking
- Budget management
- Experience launching new products
- Strong project management skills
- Excellent communication and presentation skills
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
Business Development Manager
- Experience developing and implementing business plans
- Strong sales and negotiation skills
- Excellent communication and networking skills
- Bachelor’s degree in business or a related field
- Experience managing client accounts
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Excellent organizational skills
- Ability to meet deadlines
Human Resources Manager
- Experience managing HR operations
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to handle confidential information
- Knowledge of labor laws
The bottom line
There are many different managerial categories, and each requires specific skills. When writing your resume, you’ll want to target your skills that match the job description. Use the tips and examples above to help you write a winning management resume.
If you need help creating a professional resume for a manager position, consider using Upwork to find a resume builder or writer to help. You can also find designers to create a resume format or resume template that will make an impression. Read our resume guide for more tips.
Are you hiring for a management role and having trouble finding job seekers with the right competencies, certifications, and skills? Upwork can help. We have a large pool of qualified candidates ready to take on your next management challenge. Post your job today.
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